Interesting bit of Chicago karate history, from May 15, 1969, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune online archives. A bit of background: Shojiro Sugiyama was dispatched to Chicago in 1963 by the Japan Karate Association, at the invitation of Walter Nakamoto and the Chicago Karate Club. After a couple of moves, in the early 1970s the renamed Japan Karate Association of Chicago settled into the second floor of the Toguri Mercantile building at 853 W. Belmont, where it remained until Sugiyama sensei’s retirement in 2000.
The dojo later moved a couple blocks over, to the Japanese Culture Center at 1016 W. Belmont, where Sugiyama sensei advised on a part-time basis until his passing in 2015 at the age of 85. The dojo continues to this day under the direction of his students as JKA Chicago, although no longer affiliated with JKA Headquarters in Tokyo. Sugiyama sensei’s influence toward the spread of karate in the Great Lakes region is immeasurable.